"Companies are offering flexible working arrangements, job-sharing activities and retraining to help their employees obtain the skill sets necessary to work in today’s environment."
Start-ups and scale-ups need to get their recruitment right first time, every time. There is little room for error in a fast growing business with narrow margins when access to the right mix of skills is critical to long term success. In a global skills shortage, how can start-ups and scale-ups win the war for talent?
In a recent PwC survey of EMEA start-ups, their biggest challenge for future development is customer acquisition and sales followed by attracting and retaining talent. The two are linked. If start-ups and scale-ups cannot get the right people, they will struggle to acquire and keep valued customers. In the same survey, a quarter of the participants responding to a question about local infrastructure reported being dissatisfied with access to qualified staff.
Here are five questions to consider when devising your hiring strategy.
1. Does your recruitment model reflect longer term needs as well as immediate ones?
A key step is to integrate workforce planning into business planning from the start. So as you plan for business growth, your people strategy evolves. A good example is new technology which is often at the heart of the growth plan. Recognising how the adoption of emerging technologies will free up the workforce to focus on more rewarding activities is something that is both attractive to new recruits and reassuring for the workforce.
People’s relationships with organisations are also becoming more fluid. It is unlikely that it would be practical or affordable to maintain all the skills a business requires in-house, long term. With the increasing numbers of contractors, freelancers and portfolio workers, figuring out where and how to engage this flexible talent is becoming more important.
2. Is unconscious bias limiting your search?
With talent in short supply, it is time to spread the net wider. As the business grows it will need a broader mix of skills and personalities. Continuing to recruit from the same places risks missing the diversity needed to take the business to the next level.
3. Are you searching for the right skills?
In our survey the recruitment difficulties that start-ups were experiencing included a lack of appropriate skills, high salary demands and choosing to work for bigger, established companies. However, interestingly, the skills that they said they are looking for are: interpersonal skills, out-of-the-box thinking, creativity, critical thinking and problem solving. Skills that may require a different approach to recruitment.
4. Are you nurturing the people you have?
As the business changes new skills and resources are required. Fresh ideas and approaches are vital to growth but there may be untapped potential in your existing workforce. Few people expect to have the same job for life and developing employees to help them reach their full potential will improve retention, saving both time and money, as well as identifying potential future skills gaps.
5. Are you marketing yourself in the right way?
It is easy to forget to keep telling the story of the business but this is exactly what will engage future employees. Not everyone wants to work for a big corporate or is purely attracted by salary, you weren't! Celebrate the opportunity for employees to develop and influence the future business. Be clear how these behaviours are rewarded and ask employees and business partners to also share their story of the business. This might be exactly what attracts the right talent with the interpersonal skills and out-of-the-box thinking the business needs.
Talent is an issue all organisations are grappling with and there is not one right answer but by tackling the issue early you have a greater chance of attracting and keeping the skills you need in your business.
Start-up/Scale-up Network Leader, PwC Poland
Tel: +48 5 0218 4277